Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pleased to report the rum is not gone

The cocktail shaker was hiding this evening.
"It's there, behind the Winnie the Pooh cup. ...I did not do that on purpose. And the rum is behind the graham crackers."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The moral of the story: call the Gungans for your underwater battle needs

Jonathan was reading one of those beginner-reader Star Wars books with Meg. The scenario was an underwater battle on Mon Calamari, and the plot... well, it pained him. We in our house do not suffer quietly. So I started liveblogging.

"If you're fighting underwater, USE BOMBS. Carolyn, they're using blasters and spears! Sometimes that's fine, for close quarters. But when you're not fighting hand-to-hand, you should break out the artillery and have fun. I'M JUST SAYING. ...I'm sorry kids, not only did you get flanked by 3 mph jellyfish, you're being surprised from above. By mining rigs. Have you heard of sonar? 'But it gets worse!' Really?"

"So apparently the big bad guy has these cyborg jellyfish. Electrified cyborg jellyfish. But the electrified cyborg jellyfish are too powerful, so they have to ask advice from Yoda and Mace Windu. These are the tactical golden boys behind such tactical maneuvers as, oh look, it's a giant plain filled with robots. Let's land and fight them with hand to hand combat, instead of, say, shooting them from space with our armada.

"So they come up with a plan. Let's call the Gungans! The Gungans are in fact an aquatic species, so this is actually good advice. And surprisingly the Gungans, unlike the elite Mon Calamari, actually have weapons that can make the jellyfish explode. And they use them. I am professionally chagrined."

"But apparently they can't fight as well as the Gungans, so I don't know what they're doing with their lives."

"'But Padme gets a crack in her helmet! Anakin tries to use the force to keep water from dribbling in.' Good luck, you're up against another force: PSI. 'But the electric eels keep jostling him and he loses concentration!'"

"Okay, there's TWO SPECIES on Mon Calamari. How did they not check the bite marks and say, "The king was killed by a shark. A giant shark." What, do they not do marine biology? So he throws a grenade at him that doesn't explode. ON PURPOSE. Wait, where did he get explosives? Did he borrow them from the Gungans? Did Jar-Jar teach you how to fight??"

"'But he couldn't have done it without Captain Ackbar,' -- who didn't do much -- 'the Jedi,' -- who also didn't do much -- 'and the Gungans' -- who did basically everything!"

Upon which Meg asked for something, possibly another book. "No, Daddy just finished reading you a book with more commentary--"
"Than text," I added helpfully.
"No," Jonathan said, "I was going to say more commentary than you get usually."

Friday, May 08, 2015

Mystery plants identified

This yard is full of plants I didn't recognize when we moved in. I'm not from the south, and we arrived in midsummer when most things were done blooming. Also, a poison ivy attacked me the first week we were here when I was sweeping the deck, and we had to clear out wasps and a huge snake, and all I could identify were yew berries (don't eat) and pokeweed berries (also don't eat), so I was not feeling the great outdoors for a while there. Who knew what other vicious plant forms were out to get us?

Anyway, all fall and winter I had this mystery tree at the end of the drive, that produced burgundy leaves and these little pod cherry things. I asked around and searched and searched online to figure it out, with absolutely no success. The bark looked like maybe a fruit tree? But the pod things didn't look edible?

And then this spring it bloomed. Ta-da! Dogwood!

Then there were these bush things out front. They got pretty big and then died completely flat for the winter. What are they? Will they poison us? The girls and I went on a field trip today to the gardens at Ida Lee, and one of the master gardeners happened to be in. I saw another of these mystery plants and asked her, and she was able not only to identify it for me, but also describe its habits, which also lined up exactly with ours. Peony, people.

It's kind of nice, figuring things out.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Technically happy

Lilacs. In macro.
Awhile back, a family at church was getting rid of their old DSLR camera and they gave it, well, to ME. I was thrilled because it's much nicer than my point-and-shoot, and I've spent the last couple of months trying to get it up and running. It takes an XD card, which used to be more common than it is now, but it didn't come with an XD card, so I actually had to order one.

Today it came! Oh joy of joys! I put Kate down for her afternoon nap and played with my new toy. It's pretty cool. :-)

The last piece still missing is the USB download cable for the camera. Considering just how many cables we have in the house, I was thinking we might have a spare. I dug through the boxes in the basement, and none of them were quite the right size - it's one of the mid-sized USB ends, smaller than a normal USB plug but not the teensy one, and also not the one with stepped sides. (We have lots of that kind.) It's the one with angled-in sides. I know we used to have one like this because I remember the drama about angled vs. stepped before, but we must have gotten rid of it when we got rid of that tech -- you know, probably it was for one of my old cameras that took an XD card, too, which I thriftily recycled because I refuse to keep deceased cameras lying around. Just NO.

(Meg, yesterday: "What does deceased mean?"
Me: "Dead. Where did you hear that word?"
Meg: "Dad used it to describe an insect outside.")

I found something much better in the basement than a USB cable. I found a multi-card reader.

It reads XD, SD, and micro-SD cards, and a couple of other types, too. I didn't even know we had a multi-card reader. This is super fabulous because my DSLR uses XD, my point-and-shoot uses SD, and my cell phone camera uses micro-SD. I can leave the multi-adapter plugged in to my computer all the time, and download whatever camera I happened to use, and not have to hunt for cords at all. I feel like God sent me such a great present.